8 Easy Steps To Choosing The Best LED FlashlightAs you know, LED Flashlights are enormously popular across the world with everyone from law enforcement/military personnel through to campers, hikers, dog walkers and children enjoying their sheer brightness. But how do you choose the right one for you from the thousands listed on eBay globally?
Here Are 8 Easy Steps To Help You Choose The Most Suitable LED Flashlight:
1. What do You Need It For?First up, you need to determine what you will use the flashlight for. If you're using it for search and rescue, hunting, or long range vision then you'll be needing a torch with big brightness (greater than, say, 1,000 lumens) and durability.
If it's for camping, hiking, fishing, sailing, recreation or around the house and car you still want a powerful beam (probably 300 - 1,000 lumens) and and something that's built to take hard knocks.
For general household use, indoors, around the shed and attic for shorter distance vision then you'll find a smaller torch with less features (100-300 lumens brightness) would do the job.
2. Decide How Much Brightness You NeedFlashlights aren't just a tool anymore, they've become a cool gadget that's handy and fun to use. Flashlight Connoisseurs would always say more brightness is better but you need to decide how explosive or tame you need the beam to be for your purposes.
10 - 20 Lumens: good for close range tasks such as finding keys in your bag, finding the keyhole in the front door, beam distance up to 100 metres
20 - 150 lumens: beam distance of around 120 metres, great for around the house, dog walking
160 -200 lumens: these torches throw a beam around 250 metres and are great for general purposes, walking/hiking, camping, around the house, tactical work and personal security
200 - 500 lumens: purpose made for tactical/hunting, work, climbing, hiking, various work uses, fishing, sailing
600 - 1,000 lumens: this is where it gets fun. You get beam distances of over 300 metres in some models which is great for camping, hiking, hunting, caving, fishing or industrial uses
1,000 plus lumens: not for around the house or in built-up areas! These are serious outdoor torches fantastic for search and rescue, hunting, work or recreation on large properties
3. Weight and Composition and WaterproofingBecause Aircraft Grade Aluminium is now used to craft some of top-line flashlights these days, they are becoming lighter. Stainless steel and hard plastics are still used in many makes and models.
The threads on the aluminium flashlights are so closely woven that they are waterproof to IPX-8 International Standards which means they'll still work when submerged to a depth of 2 metres.
4. SizeLED Flashlights have become incredibly compact in recent years. With the use of American Cree energy efficient technology, flashlight engineers have been able to generate huge amounts of very bright light from ordinary AA batteries. Lithium batteries provide even greater power for high performance LED flashlights.
Flashlights are now smaller and more compact than ever before because a smaller number of batteries can now be used to throw immense amounts of light.
5. Type Of BatteriesNormal alkaline batteries: easy to source from your local supermarket, handy and convenient. However they don't have the runtime or shelf-life of lithium batteries
Disposable Lithium Batteries such as CR123A batteries have a longer runtime and shelf-life than alkaline but cost a little bit more
Rechargeable Lithium-ion Batteries are the best power source for top quality LED torches. With long runtime and shelf-life as well as the added convenience of being rechargeable, the real advantage is that you'll never be out of batteries. You can use turbo mode (maximum brightness) as much as you like without having to constantly buy new batteries
6. Beam Features And ModesSome flashlights have different beam variations such as:
Low-mid-high-turbo brightness levels
Pencil beam - handy for honing in on a target or object
Wide beam - great to illuminate your surroundings
Strobe mode - good for emergency and signalling
Flashing mode - good for signalling, morse code and emergencies
7. Brand NameThe advantages of buying brand name flashlights are:
Additional beam variations
Longer lifespan, some brands up to 50,000 hours
Excellent warranties up to 3 years
Peace of mind
How can you really compare apples with apples when it comes to all the features these brands of flashlight are supposed to have? That's a great question. The answer is that you can confidently compare the functionality of all flashlights that have ANSI International Standards accreditation.
7. PriceAs with everything, you get what you pay for. You can spend $20-$50 and get a small LED that'll serve you well for a short time. The top brand names will cost you $30-$200 depending on the brightness and functionality. For the big search and rescue torches, you're looking at paying over $200.
The best thing to do is work through these 8 steps and determine your exact flashlight then you're well on your way to owning the right torch for you and also getting the best value for your money.